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A Letter to Harvey Milk

From 337 member  reviews
Members say: Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

About the show

Set in San Francisco in 1986, this musical deals with issues of friendship and loss, the grip of the past, and the hard-won acceptance set in motion by the most unexpected people.  More…

What could Harry, an amiable but lonely retired kosher butcher have in common with Barbara, his young lesbian writing teacher at the senior center? Is it enough to bridge the divide?  When Harry fulfills a writing assignment to compose a letter to someone from his past who’s dead, he writes not to his late wife Frannie, but to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay political leader in California. Barbara is stunned. Harry's letter evokes life-changing revelations that neither could have foreseen. 

Member Reviews (337)


Great singing, Entertaining, Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking
Avg Score

Great acting, Great singing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Funny

See it if You want to see a musical that is very entertaining and thought provoking. You want to laugh and be entertained. You have an open mind.

Don't see it if You want to miss a very good musical that talks about relevant issues. You don't want to laugh. You don't like musicals.

Clever, Great acting, Funny, Profound

See it if you like lovely shows with a surprising depth you didn't expect. Some very funny lines.

Don't see it if shows about Jewish or gay people are not your cup of tea. You want a great score - the music was pretty straight-forward and forgettable.

Great writing, Quirky

See it if unexpected connections between a lonely old Jewish man, Harvey Milk, and a writer. Heart touching themes of love, lost, and homophobia

Don't see it if Mediocre singing from the male lead. Holocaust, guns, and murder are triggering

Also Ticket from in-person rush for $25.

Great acting, Great singing, Great staging, Resonant, Cliched

See it if you appreciate generational- and gender - identity communications bridging and Jewish humor and irony in a touching musical tragi-comedy

Don't see it if you are not interested in LGBTQ emotional and political struggle or musicals, prefer elaborate sets, costumes, stronger score, short 1 act

Ambitious, Great singing, Refreshing, Resonant

See it if you're a fan of Jewish humor and want to hear some good singing.

Don't see it if you're put off by same sex relationships and have a limited Yiddish vocabulary.

Cliched, Disappointing

See it if Like small musicals about a relationship across generations.

Don't see it if Hate cliched unnecessary humor that ruins the nice atory that is actually there

Absorbing, Clever, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Romantic

See it if You like your musicals to have heart and be about something meaningful

Don't see it if You want major production numbers and choreography , this is a chamber piece

Very funny / very sweet / deeply-moving, Great singing, Excellent musicianship (above-the-stage), Resonant / relevant / thought-provoking, Must-see

See it if you'd enjoy a small endearing sweet warm inter-generational & inter-cultural musical w/very funny clever lyrics, deeply-moving book & music.

Don't see it if you want to see a mega-musical. Lots thrown in: death, Jewish humor, gay story-line(s), family banishment, the Holocaust, in under 100min.

Also The twist at the end will leave you motionless.... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great singing, Great writing

See it if You want to have a wonderful theatrical experience that is relevant and a must-see for the world in today's times.

Don't see it if You don't want too see plays dealing with important issues such as Anti Semitism and Homophobia.

Ambitious, Indulgent, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Cheesy

See it if You haven't had your fill of stories about gay life in the 80s. You don't mind seeing a show that's a little rough around the edges.

Don't see it if You can't stand cheese.

Intelligent, Relevant, Moving, touching

See it if you want to see a sweet musical about the human heart and connecting with someone who you identify with, and want to protect from the world.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy musicals that could be sappy to some and touch on gay and human rights.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if A new take on a Gay Pride hero. Brings together middle class and religious stereotypes offering a new angel on how to relate to Milk,

Don't see it if You are anti LGBTQ life, thinkling, rights. If you do not care for the reflections of an old Jewish couple talking about Milk.

Great lyrics, Relevant, Charming, Heartfelt, Touching

See it if you like small-scale but big-of-heart musicals. Touching story of widower & a young lesbian who connect through Harvey Milk's story/legacy.

Don't see it if you're not prepared to feel the pain of secrets, the joy of finding connection, and the power of memory and love. Good music, great lyrics!

Relevant, Must see, Poignant, Compelling, Moving

See it if you enjoy stories of people bridging their differences and finding their commonality. This was a beautiful story and told in a clever way.

Don't see it if you have no interest in LGBT or Jewish stories and don't believe (to quote Kinky Boots) you can change the world if you change your mind.

Also This show was a refreshing surprise to me. After losing a string of Br... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Sweet, Good performances, Corny lyrics and rhymes

See it if you enjoy stories about friendship between 2 unlikely protagonists--they had great chemistry even though role of Sarah was an understudy.

Don't see it if you are unfamiliar with Jewish culture or Yiddish. If you are uninterested in gay themes. If you expect this to be about Harvey Milk.

Ambitious, Great acting, Great singing, Slow, Relevant

See it if Unlikely intergenerational friendship tells the story through a series of flashbacks from a letter written as an assignment.

Don't see it if Expect a full blown musical.

Entertaining, Great acting, Jewish, Lgbt, Dated

See it if You enjoy shows that deal with Jewish and or LGBT history. You enjoy more "traditional" new musicals. This one feels like a throwback.

Don't see it if You like your contemporary theatre more on the contemporary side.

Also This show was a wonderful labour of love. At the final curtain Adam He... Read more Read less

Surprising, lyrical, inconsistent

See it if a moving story, excellent cast, engaging lyrics and music and good Jewish humor appeal; timely and topical. I aughed and cried.

Don't see it if inconsistencies in the quality of the work will annoy you.

Also Loved the back story to Harvey Milk's real life tragedy (even if it wa... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Cliched, Quirky, Relevant

See it if You want to see a story about Jews and the gay community. The husband and wife interacting were the best part As well as the flashback.

Don't see it if You do not like Jewish stereotypes.

Confusing, Clever, Great staging, Fluffy, Relevant

See it if I made sure I saw this during Pride month- Harvey Milk is still relevant today and what he's done for the LGBT movement. This takes place

Don't see it if Mostly after his death. It balanced Judaism and homosexuality. Musically, I wasn't feeling the score, but, overall good play. Good set.

Clever, Intelligent, Profound, Refreshing, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy a story loosely based on an historical event with a clever twist and some nifty lyrics

Don't see it if If you're homophobic you won't appreciate this show

Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if you enjoy light musicals with both comedy and drama, along with some stereotypical Yiddish phrases

Don't see it if you're not interested in gay problems in political history, don't enjoy Jewish humor

Also Well-acted, with just enough of a musical touch and live background mu... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great singing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You are a fan of good singing and acting. The play tells a story that is relevant to all

Don't see it if you are looking for a big blockbuster show or are offended by plays with Gay or Jewish themes

Doesn’t always work but when it does, it’s powerful

See it if It helps to be Jewish or gay or both but the message is powerful and affecting.

Don't see it if You are anti Semitic or homophobic.

Riveting, Refreshing, Must see, Great acting, Great singing

See it if you like small musicals with a sensitive book.

Don't see it if you only like big musicals with huge dance numbers

March 6th, 2018
"Surprisingly fierce little musical...Ginsburg's lush orchestrations for piano, cello, and woodwinds give the music a sentimental air ideal for a story about the dredging of feelings long thought drowned. At the same time, the lyrics are honest and playful...Pappas juggles the overlapping plot li...
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March 8th, 2018
"There's a lot to like about this show, but it isn't wholly successful for a variety of reasons. First of all, in my opinion, 90-minute musicals rarely work. It's a tall order to develop characters, as well as relationships...While partially due to the short duration of the show, part of that is ...
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March 7th, 2018
"This is an old-fashioned laughter-and-tears exercise that combines wheezy gags with weepy revelations and the tasteless exploitation of certain world-historical events...The dialogue sounds like something thrown together in the writers' room of a mediocre television sitcom...Under Pappas' direct...
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March 6th, 2018
"Mixed-bag of a musical...The plot and characters are potentially quite moving. Unfortunately, the material is undercut by a bland and generic score...The performances are better than the material...Some of the early scenes move along a bit sluggishly, but director Pappas creates some effective s...
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